September 25, 2021

Timeline: The Trump whistleblower complaint | TheHill


President TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: It’s time for House Democrats to ‘do something’ about Trump Warren: Congress is ‘complicit’ with Trump ‘by failing to act’ Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE‘s administration was rocked this week by news of a whistleblower complaint filed early last month that detailed a troubling conversation Trump had with another world leader, reportedly including a “promise” Trump made during the phone call.

As Trump and his allies have sought to characterize the anonymous member of the intelligence community who filed the complaint as a partisan operative, Democrats in the House and Senate have demanded answers from Joseph Maguire, Trump’s acting director of national intelligence (DNI).

Lawmakers were left with few answers this week after a briefing on the handling of the complaint, which Democrats complained did not touch on the complaint’s contents. The Washington Post, meanwhile, reported that the complaint centered around the issue of Ukraine.

While some Democrats are seeking legal remedies to compel release of the complaint, others have used the issue as an opportunity to issue emboldened calls for the House to being impeachment proceedings targeting the president, a move that Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden blasts Trump, demands he release transcript of call with foreign leader Pelosi wants to change law to allow a sitting president to be indicted Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America’s Health Care Future — Walmart to stop selling e-cigarettes | Senators press FDA to pull most e-cigarettes immediately | House panel tees up e-cig hearing for next week MORE (D-Calif.) again declined to support this week. Maguire is now scheduled to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Sept. 26.

Here’s a timeline of what we know about this anonymous complaint so far.

July 28: DNI Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsTrump has named more ex-lobbyists to Cabinet in 3 years than Obama, Bush did in full terms: report Hillicon Valley: FCC approves Nexstar-Tribune merger | Top Democrat seeks answers on security of biometric data | 2020 Democrats take on Chinese IP theft | How Google, Facebook probes are testing century-old antitrust laws Congress should defy Dan Coats’ last request on phone surveillance MORE exit announced

On July 28, Dan Coats, Trump’s long-serving director of national intelligence, issued his resignation, which was announced via a tweet from the president.

“I would like to thank Dan for his great service to our Country. The Acting Director will be named shortly,” Trump tweeted at the time.

Aug. 8: Sue Gordon announces resignation

Shortly after Coats’s exit was announced, his top deputy and expected replacement as acting DNI, Sue Gordon, announced her resignation as well. Gordon’s resignation was also announced via a tweet from Trump.

Aug. 12: Whistleblower files complaint

Thought it went unreported at the time, on Aug. 12, an anonymous member of the intelligence community filed a complaint with Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) Michael Atkinson, flagging multiple instances of the president’s conversations with a foreign leader the whistleblower said were troubling. Of note was an undisclosed “promise” Trump reportedly made to that foreign leader during one or more conversations.

Aug. 15: Coats, Gordon exit, Maguire steps in as acting DNI

Just days after the complaint is filed, Coats and Gordon exited the Trump administration as expected. Maguire, formerly director of the National Counterterrorism Center, was sworn in as acting director of national intelligence.

Aug. 26: Whistleblower complaint is forwarded to Maguire

By law, Atkinson was given 14 days to review the whistleblower complaint and make a determination on whether it was credible and of “urgent concern.” Apparently finding both to be true, Atkinson forwarded the complaint to Maguire, who had one week to deliver a report on the whistleblower claim to Congress.

Sept. 2: Maguire misses congressional deadline

Sept. 2 passed, and Maguire declined to issue a report on the whistleblower claim to members of the House and Senate Intelligence committees, which Democrats have since said was a violation of the law.

Sept. 9: Atkinson alerts Congress

Taking matters into his own hands, the inspector general penned a note to lawmakers including Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHillicon Valley: Lawmakers say Zuckerberg to ‘cooperate’ on antitrust probes | Dems see victory after McConnell backs election security funds | Twitter takes down fake pro-Saudi accounts Trump asked Ukraine president to investigate Biden’s son eight times in one phone call: reports Lawmakers say Zuckerberg has agreed to ‘cooperate’ with antitrust probe MORE (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, alerting them to the existence of the whistleblower complaint and accusing Maguire of failing to issue a report to Congress.

Sept. 10: Schiff writes back, demands complaint

Schiff wrote to Maguire the next day, accusing the acting DNI of breaking the law by failing to issue the report on the whistleblower’s complaint to Congress. In his letter, Schiff demanded more information about the contents of the complaint.

Sept. 13: DNI responds

In a letter several days later to Schiff, Atkinson’s general counsel Jason Klitenic explained that the matter was judged to not be of “urgent concern” after consultation with the Justice Department.

Schiff subpoenaed Maguire to provide his committee with the whistleblower complaint, writing in his own letter to Maguire that “you have neither the legal authority nor the discretion to overrule a determination by the IC IG.”

Sept. 18: The Washington Post breaks the story

The story went public on Wednesday, days after Schiff’s exchange with Maguire, after The Washington Post reported that the complaint involved Trump himself. In later reports, the Post would reveal that the complaint involved Ukraine.

Sept.19: Lawmakers denied full briefing on complaint’s contents

Members of the House Intelligence Committee were briefed on the handling of the complaint by Atkinson on Thursday but did not receive information about the complaint’s contents or other specifics. Atkinson confirmed during the briefing that the complaint revolved around multiple conversations the president was involved in.

Sept. 20: Trump defends conversations with world leaders

Trump addressed the scandal publicly on Friday at the White House, telling reporters that his contacts with foreign leaders are “always appropriate.”

“I have conversations with many leaders. It’s always appropriate. Always appropriate,” Trump told reporters on Friday. “At the highest level always appropriate. And anything I do, I fight for this country.”

Trump also attempts to deflect attention on to Biden in comments to reporters Friday, claiming that “it doesn’t matter what I discussed” with world leaders.

Biden fired back later in the day, telling reporters at a campaign stop that “not one single, credible outlet has given any credibility to his assertion.”

“I have no comment except the president should start to be president,” Biden added.

Sept. 21: Trump doubles down, slams media for ignoring Biden story

In tweets addressing the issue Saturday, the president accused media outlets of ignoring the allegations Republicans have leveled against Biden over the Ukraine issue while again defending his own conversations with Ukraine’s president.

“The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, want to stay as far away as possible from the Joe Biden demand that the Ukrainian Government fire a prosecutor who was investigating his son, or they won’t get a very large amount of U.S. money, so they fabricate a story about me and a perfectly fine and routine conversation I had with the new President of the Ukraine,” Trump tweeted.

“Nothing was said that was in any way wrong, but Biden’s demand, on the other hand, was a complete and total disaster,” he added.

Biden himself addressed the issue further on Saturday, telling reporters that Trump was abusing his authority as president to affect the 2020 race.

“Trump’s doing this because he knows I’ll beat him like a drum and is using the abuse of power and every element of the presidency to try to do something to smear me,” the former vice president told reporters.

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John Bowden
The Hill

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